Getting down with the Ducklings

Learn more about the Make Way for Ducklings statues and celebrate Duckling Day this Mothers Day weekend with Mrs. Mallard.

make way for ducklings

Visit Nancy Schön’s bronze sculpture during the annual Duckling Day Parade.

Photo by Rizka, via Wikimedia Commons

This Sunday, load up the family and waddle down to the Boston Common for the annual Duckling Day events with Friends of the Public Garden. Before the festivities begin, let’s take a lap and learn more about one of Boston’s most iconic moms and her ducklings.

In 1941, the beloved childrens book “Make Way for Ducklings” was first published. The story, written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, features Mrs. Mallard and her family of ducklings. The book follows the family through their adventures in Beacon Hill and the Boston Public Garden.

The famous bronze ducklings statues were created by Nancy Schön and installed in the Public Garden in 1987, near the corner of Beacon and Charles streets. Mrs. Mallard stands 38 inches tall and her eight ducklings follow behind her. The sculpture is one of the iconic landmarks of the Public Garden and the ducks are often dressed up for holidays and city events.

Boston Public Garden ducklings wearing "Boston Strong 10th Year" gear

The Public Garden ducklings all dressed up for the Boston Marathon.

Here’s what you need to know:

The 30+ year-old tradition brings hundreds of families to parade through the Boston Common. It will be led by the Harvard Marching Band and begin on the Boston Common Parkman Bandstand (139 Tremont St.), heading towards the duckling statues.

Before the parade kicks off, there will be Playtime on the Common from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., including family-friendly entertainment like a performance by young lion dancers, a reading station, and a goody bag for every child.

Pro tip: All families are encouraged to decorate their wagons and strollers for the parade.

Registration is $35 per family in advance and $40 the day-of the event.

Getting there:

  • MBTA stations around Beacon Hill include Park Street, Arlington, Bowdoin + Charles, or various MBTA bus routes.
  • If you’re traveling by car, there is the Charles Street Garage at 144 Charles St. or the Boston Common Garage at 0 Charles St.
More from BOStoday